After twelve years, Anarchy Online is finally getting its much-anticipated visual upgrade.
Twelve years is a really long time in gaming, encompassing three console generations and countless industry trends. That makes it even more impressive to say that Anarchy Online, the first MMORPG to feature a sci-fi setting, is still being played twelve years after its 2001 release. Even now, Funcom continues to upgrade the game; over the past two years it's been developing a new graphics engine designed specifically with modern systems in mind. Boasting advanced environmental effects and character details, this overhaul should prove exciting for Anarchy Online's long-time fans, even more so now that Funcom is taking applications for a first wave of closed beta testers.
Anarchy Online's new engine, also used in Age of Conan and Secret World, will run concurrently with the regular game on Funcom's beta server. Applicants new and old will be accepted in waves for the duration of the closed beta, before finally transitioning into open beta for large-scale testing. Unfortunately, while veteran players are welcome to join the closed beta, classic characters are not. Funcom first intends to get feedback on its "New Player Experience" before adopting character transfers at a later date.
The core game will continue to receive new updates even as the new engine is tested. Today's patch, for example, revised Anarchy Online's itemshop and inventory categories, and changes to the whompah system will be detailed sometime next month. While it's hard to say whether Anarchy Online will last another twelve years, between the large-scale graphical overhauls and minor interface tweaks, it's safe to say that Funcom is putting its best foot forward.
Source: Anarchy Online